Last Updated on January 1, 2021 by Nick Baskett
Cocoa traders don’t say where their beans came from when they supply the UK market, so there’s nothing to stop illegally produced cocoa being sold in the UK.
The BBC News site yesterday reported on a new proposed law that would require big companies that had operations in the UK to show where commodities such as cocoa, originated from.
A company that failed to demonstrate the origin of the products, which include cocoa would be in breach of the law.
A large concern is the Brazilian Rainforest, but Cote D’Ivoire was also mentioned as an example of where illegal deforestation is known to continue despite the many action plans and announcements from large cocoa buyers, and the Cote D’Ivoire government themselves.
There is an argument that regulation should be driven by parties that do not have a commercial interest in the sale of the commodity.
At this stage, there is still a lot of detail missing, such as what would the penalties be for a breach? It is also unclear what would comprise sufficient evidence. Is the UK government planning to endorse and require specific certifications?
Recent investigations have shown how easy it is in Cote D’Ivoire to fool importers about the providence of cocoa – we wrote about this here.
On important matters such as deforestation and child slavery, and where the market does not find a way to self-regulate, it is the role of governments to step in and set the rules. It will be interesting to see how the UK Government implements this proposed law and whether other countries will follow.